Don’t miss PART ONE of the paradise
When I said Vernazza was the most physically demanding part of the tour, I really meant it. After Vernazza, everything was a breeze. The next village was Monterosso, just 5 minutes away by train. The town was heavily damaged by the flood in 2011, but it seems to have restored to normal. We were allocated about an hour here, so we mainly strolled along the beach, savored gelato and popped in some gift shops on the main street. Beware though because most are tourist traps.
From Monterosso to Riomaggiore, it was a 15 minute boat ride along the coast. It was easily the most pleasant part of the whole tour since the sun was no longer as harsh and the cool ocean breeze constantly caressed and stroke our face. (my apologies if that is loaded with sexual innuendo, but I don’t know any other way to go about it. It was really, really pleasurable.) There was even some whale action on the way, which made everyone go nuts. I had never seen whales in the flesh, but for some unfathomable reason I was quite ambivalent so I just sat back, relaxed and let the fact that I was actually being in the Mediterranean sink in. I don’t think Riomaggiore is any less visited than other villages, but it was getting late in the afternoon when we arrived so we got to see local people run errands and do their daily chores. Always captivating to observe. In Riomaggiore, we walked the Via dell’Amore, “Lover’s Lane”, a walkway hanging above the sea at a very leisurely pace and eventually came back to the village of Manarola where we started the tour. A short train ride and a 1.5 hour bus whisked us back to the heart of Florence. Safe and sound. All in all, thanks to the tour, we had a wonderful day exploring Cinque Terre though it would have been perfect in every sense of the word if another authentic dinner had been included in the tour.